Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Circus Bosses on Trial for Cruelty to Elephant by Worker

Posted: 15 November 2012. Updated: 23 November 2012

The trial of circus owners Bobby and Moira Roberts – over video evidence filmed by Animal Defenders International (ADI) showing their workers kicking and beating their elephant, Anne, at their winter quarters – is due to go ahead on Monday 19 November at Northampton Crown Court.

The video recordings were filmed by ADI investigators at the winter quarters of Bobby Roberts’ Super Circus in Polebrook in January and February 2011. The worker caught on film being cruel to Anne left the country immediately.

Mr and Mrs Roberts are being jointly charged with a series of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, to which they have pleaded not guilty:

1. Causing the elephant to suffer unnecessarily, by requiring the elephant to be chained to the ground at all times, contrary to section 4(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

2. Failing to take reasonable steps to prevent their employee from causing unnecessary suffering to the elephant, by repeatedly beating it, contrary to section 4(2) of the same Act.

3. Failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the needs of the elephant were met to the extent required by good practice, contrary to section 9 of the same Act.

This is a test case, the first trial of circus owners and their responsibilities under the ‘duty of care’ detailed in the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Anne is a 59 year old female elephant wild caught in Sri Lanka and bought by the Bobby Roberts’ Super Circus in the 1950s. Anne was transferred to a safari park with the owners’ consent following the release of the ADI video in 2011.

Notes to Editors:

Media contact:

ADI PR Desk: Angie Greenaway Tel: 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

Over 500 hours of video were shot by ADI investigators over a three and a half week period during January and February 2011. A camera observed activity in a barn where the animals are kept when not touring.

About Animal Defenders International
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.

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